Where Everybody Knows Your Name

DesignSTL|November/December 2019

Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Fifteen years on, New Town is exactly what its developers envisioned.
Samantha Stevenson

It’s about 5 o’clock on a summer evening, and the residents of New Town are taking advantage of the day’s still-generous sunshine. On one of the canals, kayakers paddle; at the water’s edge, fishermen await nibbles on their lines; a couple embraces for a photo.

Opened in 2004 by developer Greg Whittaker, New Town is an example of New Urbanism that feels more like a movie set than a neighborhood in the suburbs of St. Louis. It’s located in St. Charles, north of Interstate 370 amid acres of farmland, but its planning concept is based on old urban precedents of places like Charleston, South Carolina, and Key West, Florida. The development of 700-plus acres comprises five neighborhoods complete with ponds and canals and small businesses. A town hall and amphitheater serve as anchors. Completing the town-within-a-town are six restaurants, a wedding chapel, a dentist’s office, and a church. Book clubs, cycling groups, and an organic farm keep residents occupied.

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November/December 2019